The SST report:
TOUGHER PENALTIES against those who harm animals look certain to be fast-tracked after Prime Minister John Key last night said his government would consider the controversial issue at Tuesday’s caucus meeting.
A spokesman for Key said: “The prime minister has been appalled by the recent animal cruelty cases.”
Key’s intervention means the government is likely to adopt National MP Simon Bridges’ private member’s bill, which proposes increasing the maximum jail term for animal cruelty from three years to five. If the government fails to act, Bridges’ bill could be debated in parliament only if it is drawn, lottery-style, from a ballot.
Key’s spokesman indicated the government would move quickly. “The government supports ensuring we have appropriate measures to deal with these issues. The Simon Bridges member’s bill will be considered for adoption as a government bill at an upcoming caucus.”
Another option would be for Simon to seek leave of the House for its introduction, without going through the ballot. It may well be possible no MP would object, considering the recent court cases.
Labour leader Phil Goff yesterday said the opposition would support Bridges’ bill to the committee stage, where it can be debated, and amended if necessary.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei had signed the Paw Justice petition and is likely to support Bridges’ private member’s bill, and Act leader Rodney Hide supported tougher penalties because “the next step after cruelty to animals was cruelty to humans”.
Also good. That indicates there may be a reasonable chance of getting leave to introduce it straight away.